HRW Briefings

Court approves work to resume at Brazil’s Teles Pires

Just a week after work to build the 1.8 GW Teles Pires project on the Teles Pires River in Brazil was halted, Brazil’s Supremo Tribunal Federal reversed that decision. In late September, judge Ricardo Lewandowski ruled that Companhia Hidreletrica Teles Pires (CHTP) had not breached the concession rules and that delaying the project could cause significant economic damage to Mato Grosso and Para states.

Prior to this decision, public prosecutors had accused the consortium of skipping obligatory social impact studies. Work was stopped, and CHTP was told it could not resume construction of the dam and powerplant until completing a report on its impact on local indigenous groups. The group would also have to reapply for an environmental permit, and failure to obey the ruling would result in a fine of US$224,000 per day.

CHTP is made up of Neoenergia (50.1%), Eletrobras-Eletrosul (24.5%), Eletrobras Furnas (24.5%) and Odebrecht (0.9%). Should construction proceed as planned, the US$2 billion project is scheduled to begin operating in 2015.

Construction work has been allowed to resume at the 1.8 GW Teles Pires hydro project in Brazil just a week after the Brazilian government said Companhia Hidreletrica Teles Pires did not conduct obligatory social impact studies.
Construction work has been allowed to resume at the 1.8 GW Teles Pires hydro project in Brazil just a week after the Brazilian government said Companhia Hidreletrica Teles Pires did not conduct obligatory social impact studies.

Nigeria in China Exim bank deal for 700 MW Zungeru

The Nigerian government has signed a deal with the Export-Import Bank of China that will allow for construction of the 700 MW Zungeru hydropower project. A quarter of the US$1.3 billion project will be funded by Nigeria, while the remaining 75% will be provided by China Exim bank.

“The loan is obtained at a highly favorable concessional term of 2.5% interest with a seven-year grace period and 20-year maturity period,” Nigeria’s government said.

The project will be developed by the China National Electric and Engineering Corporation and Sinohydro. Officials hope the plant will help alleviate the country’s massive energy deficit, where blackouts are a near daily occurrence and many rely on diesel generators.

The plant will also be a boon for oil-rich Nigeria’s economy, which is Africa’s second strongest in terms of its gross domestic product. “It would create thousands of jobs for Nigerian engineers, technicians and artisans during the construction phase directly and indirectly,” Nigerian Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

Pakistan, India at odds over four project proposals

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed concerns within the country’s National Assembly about four Indian hydropower projects that potentially violate the Indus Waters Treaty: the 690 MW Ratle, the 48 MW Lower Kalnai, the 120 MW Miyar and the 1,500 MW Pakal Dul.

A statement from the ministry said Pakistan had sought a friendly resolution with India during a meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission, although Pakistan said India violated terms of the treaty by failing to provide information about the projects during their planning stages. Pakistan’s Punjab Irrigation Department has previously expressed concerns with the Pakal Dul project given its location on the Marusdar River, which is a tributary to the Chenab River, in Jammu and Kashmir.

In other related news, the World Bank has agreed to provide US$14 billion for the construction of Pakistan’s 4,500 MW Diamer-Bhasha project, Associated Press of Pakistan has reported.Pakistani Minster of Finance Ishaq Dar said in a statement that the country was able to secure the financing after convincing the bank that it is not legally necessary to seek a no-obligation certificate from neighboring India.

Dar also said the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has committed to being Diamer-Bhasha’s lead finance manager. The parties are developing a structure, ADB vice president Xiaoyo Zhao said, for $430 million in funding that will be released for the project’s income support program.

Andritz to supply electrical components for 636 MW Upper Kelekoy

Andritz Hydro has been awarded a US$40.5 million contract to supply, install and commission three 235 MVA generators for the 636 MW Upper Kelekoy project in Turkey. Upper Kelekoy (also spelled Kalekoy) is being developed by the Kalehan Enerji consortium on Turkey’s Murat River.

In August, Kalehan Enerji awarded a contract to Voith Hydro supply three 202 MW Francis turbines for the project.

The plant is the second in a cascade of four planned for the river, with the 560 MW Beyhan-1 being the first.

First turbine at 3,750 MW Jirau now in operation

The first 75 MW turbine-generator unit at Brazil’s 3,750 MW Jirau plant on the Madeira River began commercial operation in early September after operator Tractebel Engineering received the go-ahead from the Agencia Nacional de Energia Electrica.

The project is being developed by ESBR Consortium, which consists of GDF Suez, Eletrosul, Chesf and Camargo Correa.

The plant, in Rondonia State, is part of the 6.6 GW Rio Madeira complex, which also includes the 3,150 MW Santo Antonio hydropower project.

The Jirau project, under construction on the Madeira River in Brazil, reached a milestone with operation of its first 75 MW turbine-generator unit in early September.
The Jirau project, under construction on the Madeira River in Brazil, reached a milestone with operation of its first 75 MW turbine-generator unit in early September.

Four projects honored during HydroVision Brasil 2013

The editors of HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide and Hydro Review magazines congratulate the winners in the 2013 Hydro Projects of the Year awards program, presented during HydroVision Brasil 2013 in Sao Paulo. Honors were presented in four categories:

    – Environmental Sustainability, the 22.5 MW Anhanguera Hydroelectric Power Station on the Sapucai River, developed and owned by Central Electrica Ahanguera. To encourage sustainbility and job creation, Volkswagen invested in the project and recruited primarily “local workers, unemployed people and school leavers for the project, and then trained them for each of the specific roles.”

    – New Development, the 3,750 MW Jirau Hydropower Plant on the Madeira River. Energia Sustentavel do Brasil – a special purpose company formed by GDF SUEZ, Chesf and Eletrosul – is responsible for the implementation of Jirau. In June, the plant became the world’s largest renewable project registered under the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

    – Project Refurbishment and Modernization, the 3,444 MW Ilha Solteira Hydropower Project on the Parana River, owned by CESP. The modernization project gave the plant more flexibility in being able to provide reactive power to Brazil’s grid and included new generator windings, stator cores and pole coils.

    – Small Hydro, Centro Nacional de Referencia em Pequenas Centrais Hidreletricas. CERPCH, located at the Federal University of Engineering at Itajuba, disseminates information and technology related to small hydropower plants through information networks, project support, research, and scientific and technological development.

Two companies expand into Peru

Rurelec held 70% of Cascade’s shares and agreed to acquire the remainder by way of an exchange of shares.

Rurelec owns shares in many Peruvian hydro projects, including 93% of 5.3 MW Canchayllo and all of 255 MW Santa Rita. The company said it also operates about 60 MW of other small hydro plants. Rurelec said its acquisition of Cascade will allow it to consolidate its Peruvian hydropower and thermal developments under a management team led by Jose Garcia Herz.

In other hydropower news from Peru, Latin American energy developer Union Energy Group has acquired project owner Generacion Andina, which owns six hydro plants in Peru that represent a total of 55.2 MW of capacity.

Two projects are operating under a 20 year, government-backed power purchase agreement, while four others are in various stages of development. Combined, Union Energy said the portfolio will represent a total investment of US$145 million.

The next two to be constructed are the 8.4 MW El Carmen and the 19 MW 8 de Agosto project. Generacion Andina awarded a $77.9 million contract to Spanish company Sacyr for their construction earlier this year.

Eletrobras announces interest in two hydro projects

Brazil’s state-owned power company Eletrobras has announced its intention to bid on a pair of large hydroelectric projects in the upcoming A-5 power auction, president Jose da Costa Carvalho Neto said.

At a press conference Carvalho Neto added that Eletrobras will bid for the 700 MW Sao Manoel and the 145 MW Itaocara projects, both of which are in Mato Grosso state. “We are already looking at these projects to give us as much time as possible,” Carvalho Neto said. “We are interested, especially in projects that are already structured.”

The A-5 auction takes place on December 13 and could include five other hydropower projects as well, assuming developers can obtain necessary licenses.

IHA announces new board

The International Hydropower Association has announced the results of its 2013 board elections, establishing the committee that will oversee the organization to October 2015. Elected as representatives of their regions are:

    – Africa: Israel Phiri, hydropower consultant; and Segomoco Martin Scheppers, senior general manager, ESKOM;

    – North America: Ken Adams, senior vice president, power supply, Manitoba Hydro; Colin Clark, chief technical officer, Brookfield Renewable Energy Group; and Marie-Anne Sauve, manager, government and institutional affairs, Hydro-Quebec;

    – South America: Gil Maranhao Neto, director of business development, GDF Suez Brasil; and Mario Lucio Ozelame, assistant to the executive technical director, Itaipu Binacional;

    – Asia One: Rasim Khaziakhmetov, director on technology policy, JSC RusHydro;

    – Asia Two: Roy Adair, chairman and managing director, Sustainable Energy Services PTY Ltd.; Roger Gill, principal consultant and managing director, Hydro Focus PTY Ltd.; Lin Chuxue, executive vice president, China Three Gorges Corporation; and Torstein Dale Sjotveit, chief executive officer, Sarawak Energy Berhad; and

    – Europe: Jean-François Astolfi, senior executive vice president, hydropower generation and engineering division, EDF; Dominik Godde, director, E.ON Kraftwerke GmbH; Roland Mà¼nch, president and CEO, Voith Hydro; Karin Seelos, vice president for international affairs power generation, Statkraft; Wolfgang Semper, executive vice president, Andritz Hydro; and Elsbeth Tronstad, executive vice president responsible for strategy and CSER, SN Power Invest AS.

Gabon’s 160 MW Grand Poubara enters full operation

Four turbines at the Gabonese Republic’s 160 MW Grand Poubara plant are in operation, following the completion of a 72-hour trial run recently.

Grand Poubara is being built in two phases, with the activation of the four turbines marking the completion of the second. The project was built in 56 months under an engineering-procurement-construction basis by PowerChina subsidiary Sinohydro Corporation. The project is on the Ogooue River about 15 km from Franceville, where it is expected to provide a boost to economic and social development.

Gabon reportedly has 6,000 MW of undeveloped hydro potential. Hydropower provides about 75% of the West African nation’s electricity.

Approval granted for Glyn Rhonwy pumped storage

The Gwynedd Council has granted the Quarry Battery Company (QBC) permission to develop a 49.4 MW pumped-storage plant on the site of the former Glyn Rhonwy slate mine in Wales.

The US$155.5 million project was developed in conjunction with AECOM and is designed to have a minimal impact on the area’s wildlife and landscape, QBC said, while offering a significant benefit to the surrounding area.

According to QBC, the Glyn Rhonwy project will create as many as 30 full-time jobs, while the company itself will establish an independent trust to manage grants to support community projects. The company said it will make an initial grant of about $390,000, then provide about $15,500 yearly afterward through the project’s operational life.

The project would include the construction of a 20 meter-high dam on the upper reservoir and a 15 meter-high dam on the lower reservoir, in addition to tunnels, a powerhouse and transmission infrastructure. The developer said it hopes to have the pumped-storage plant operational by 2017.

ADB to support rehab of Tajikistan’s 240 MW Golovnaya

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tajik government to help finance rehabilitation of the 240 MW Golovnaya hydropower plant.

Located on the Vakhsh River, Golovnaya was first commissioned in 1962. The plant would be the Tajikstan’s largest if it were operating at its full designed capacity, but with a current capacity of 120 MW, it now trails the country’s 126 MW Kayrakkum. Officials said the rehabilitation should increase Golovnaya’s capacity to 252 MW while extending its life by 50 years.

ADB is expected to allocate about US$116 million for the project when its board of directors meets to review the proposal later this year.

EIB, CABEI announce Central America hydroelectric investment program

A joint program announced by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Central American Bank for Economic Integration will allow for hydropower project investments in six Latin American countries. The initiative was created to help reduce regional dependence on fossil fuel imports and decrease carbon emissions, with more than US$500 million to be spent on renewable energy projects in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama.

Also benefitting from the funding are wind, geothermal and photovoltaic forms of power generation, the EIB said.

“Considerable investment is needed to harness the potential of renewable energy and more efficient energy use to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy essential for economic growth,” EIB Vice President of Latin American Lending Magdalena Alvarez Arza said. “The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting long-term investment in sustainable energy around the world and enabling low-carbon energy investment in Central America.”

Upgrade work at two projects in Philippines

The Philippines’ Energy Regulatory Commission has granted a certificate of compliance to SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet for operation of all four units at the 125.8 MW Binga plant.

An upgrade increased the capacity of Binga’s turbines from 25 MW to about 30 MW and boosted plant lifespan by 50 years. Other work included the construction of a new intake and headrace, replacement of electromechanical components, and modernization of the plant’s control systems.

Binga is part of a complex that also includes the 105 MW Ambuklao plant. Ambuklao entered commercial operation in 1956, with Binga following four years later.

In additional news from the country, state-operated utility Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (Psalm) has announced that seven companies had bid to upgrade units at the Philippines’ 200 MW Agus 6 hydropower plant.

Work will be performed on Agus 6’s Units 1 and 2, increasing their capacity to 34.5 MW each from 25 MW each and extending their life by another three decades. Agus 6’s Units 3, 4 and 5 are not being upgraded. Each of those units has a capacity of 50 MW.

Bidding are Alstom Philippines, China International Water and Electric Corporation, HydroChina Zhongnan, Kaltimex Energy Philippines Inc., PHP Philippine Hydro Project Inc., Vicente T. Lau Construction, and Zhejiang Fuchunjiang Hydropower Equipment Co. Ltd., according to Psalm.

NIEA awards contract for restoration of historic project

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has awarded a US$1.99 million contract to Farrans (Construction) Ltd. to restore a historic hydroelectric project at Roe Valley Country Park in County Londonderry. The agency’s proposal includes a design-build contract for the Roe Valley Country Park Hydroelectric Power Restoration Scheme, which involves the installation of a turbine within an existing powerhouse.

Other work includes construction of a concrete inlet structure and spillway near existing waterways, repairs to the Mill Race Structure, trench excavation and laying a penstock from the Mill Race to the turbine intake tunnel, work within the existing tunnel and turbine chamber, alteration of the tailrace, and removal and protection of historic existing equipment.

U.S. ambassador calls for investments in Nepalese hydroelectric sector

A recent conference call hosted by United States Ambassador to Nepal, Peter Bodde, is hoped to generate American interest in the south Asian country’s hydroelectric power market, according to the U.S. Embassy.

A dozen companies, representing both generation and infrastructure sectors of the hydropower industry, participated in the call, during which Bodde gave an overview of Nepal’s economic and business climate.

A number of American companies have expressed interest in investing in Nepal’s hydroelectric sector, Bodde said, adding that the U.S. Embassy is eager to assist them to invest in Nepal.

The embassy said the country has the world’s second-highest hydropower potential, although less than 1% of its resources have been developed. “Nepal has enormous hydropower potential, and the time to engage with this sector is now,” Bodde said.

Hydro Tasmania names Steve Davy new CEO

Utility company Hydro Tasmania has announced that Steve Davy will take over as chief executive officer effective from early September, having served in an interim role since June 30.

Davy, who has been with Hydro Tasmania since 2005 and previously served as chief commercial officer, was named acting CEO after Roy Adair’s decision to leave the utility in June.

“He was selected from a very talented pool of internal and external candidates after an extensive process undertaken by the board,” Hydro Tasmania Chair Dr. David Crean said. “The board believes he was the best choice, in particular to handle the many complex issues and regulatory risks presented by the current national market in which we operate.”

Crean credits Davy with helping guide Hydro Tasmania’s commercial operations toward becoming an “integrated energy business,” while overseeing its operations that include mainland retailing, contract and spot trading, major customer negotiations, supplier arrangements and operational activities.

“On behalf of the board, I look forward to working with Steve and his executive team as the business enters another exciting and challenging period in its 100-year history,” Crean said.

Personnel changes, offer to buy China Hydroelectric

China Hydroelectric Corporation announced the resignation of Shadron Lee Stastney from its board of directors in late September. Stastney, who has been a board member since October 2012 and one of the company’s directors from May 2007 through September 2012, will also vacate his place on CHC’s compensation committee. The decision “is not due to any disagreement with the company or any matter relating to the company’s operations, policies or practices,” CHC said.

In early September, CHC’s board of directors received a preliminary non-binding proposal from NewQuest Capital Partners, through its affiliated entity, CPI Ballpark Investments, to acquire all of CHC’s outstanding shares represented by American Depository Shares (ADS) – each of which represents three ordinary shares in the company. Each ordinary share is worth US$0.99 in cash.

NewQuest owns 80,777,569 ordinary shares of CHC, representing 49.83% of its total outstanding ordinary shares. NewQuest also holds options and warrants to acquire ordinary shares of CHC that, if exercised in full, would increase its ownership of CHC to about 56.8%.

In August, CHC announced additions to its board of directors and management team: Allard Nooy and Daniel Chan, who will serve as an “independent non-executive director” and chief operating officer, respectively.

Nooy most recently served as CEO of Jindal Water Infrastructure Ltd. and has nearly 20 years of experience with major water-related infrastructure projects in Asia. He also worked for Covanta Energy, Leighton Asia and RWE-Thames Water.

Chan has spent the past 16 years developing hydropower and nuclear projects in China with Meiya Power. In all, Chan has 32 years of experience in the international power industry and is a registered professional engineer in the USA.

CHC was founded in 2006 and owns 25 hydropower projects in China that have a cumulative installed capacity of 517.8 MW.

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